It turns out I am good at becoming a “regular”. So good in fact that I’ve had to hold off writing this until I could figure out where I go most regularly.
I have a tendency to find a place I like and stick with it for months. In France I’ve had 3 regular spots: The French Coffee Shop (part of a chain but I’m a whipped cream addict and it’s fairly plentiful there), Bagels and Coffee (again a chain but the bagels are so good I’ve got a photo of the menu in my recipe journal), last but by far from least there is Instant Ciné (where I became the ultimate regular). There were days when I literally moved from each of these cafés to the next.
My patronage to Instant Ciné is perhaps better suited to the label residency. My friends and I had one essay to do for our entire semester and we spent a whole 3 weeks writing (procrastinating over) this essay. The entirety of this time was spent in Instant Ciné. It even reached the point where I had established an agreed price for a cup of whipped cream – 40 cents if you wanted to know.
I think half the reason I loved the place so much (aside from being able to buy whipped cream by the mug) was that it was slightly out of town and therefore not full of every other exchange student we knew. What a rarity to hear French people speaking French when living in France! In all the time I spent in Instant Ciné I only ever met two other British students who I didn’t know anyway and who were there for exactly the same reason; to avoid other Brits.
(Even the toilet cubicle wasn’t half bad.)
Instant Ciné had fantastic music. French Coffee Shop was originally been up there for its jazzy playlists but eventually the old lady within me decided that the music in there was far too loud.
Instant Ciné on the other hand played its music at a reasonable volume with a consistently incredible playlist setting the perfect tone. Having asked the owner Sylvain (we were of course on first name terms) where I might find his playlist I got hold of this: https://open.spotify.com/user/sylvaintours/playlist/6nudUdOLPCuAv8gPnHmBOQ. Sylvain apparently learnt most of his English due to his love of music and films. I like to think of it as a walk in iTunes as people can go there to buy CDs and rent DVDs, although I guess that’s just what Choices was. Hopefully Netflix’s arrival in France doesn’t ruin that.
Instant Ciné also had the best chocolate cake in town. In fact the food in Instant Ciné was generally lovely, the only downside was the lack of it. There was no savoury menu. We found this out in a slightly embarrassing way, my friend Annie got the words for salty and dirty confused and spent a good five minutes trying to explain how she was hungry but wanted dirty food not cake.
Anyway, having overdosed on whipped cream and finished my essay at last, my visits became a little sparser but if I’m ever back in Tours I will most definitely be visiting again.
Lucy Hibbitt, Tours